Saturday, February 28, 2009

’06 train blasts: IM man sings, ATS red-faced

Under scannner: Indian Mujahideen suspected member, Sadiq Shaikh

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) top operative Sadiq Sheikh’s confession on his alleged role in the July 11, 2006 serial Mumbai train blasts has come as a huge embarrassment for the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS). Two years ago, the ATS had chargesheeted 13 persons, but Sadiq and other members of the IM module were not named as conspirators.

On Friday, after a news channel aired the videotapes of Sadiq’s confession in which he says that he and his associates had purchased pressure cookers, placed bombs in them and planted them in trains, the ATS was at pains to rubbish it, saying Sadiq was trying to mislead investigators. “Our teams are questioning him and we cannot reveal information at this juncture,’’said acting ATS chief, additional director-general of police K P Raghuvanshi. It was Raghuvanshi who had headed the 11/7 investigation as ATS chief.He had then claimed that the blasts were carried out by Simi activists and Pakistanis.

Sadiq first admitted his role in 11/7 in September last year after he and 20 others were arrested by the Mumbai crime branch which was investigating the cars stolen from Navi Mumbai and used in the 2008 blasts in Ahmedabad and the planting of bombs in Surat. DGP A N Roy had then said that Sadiq’s claims were an Al Qaida ploy to mislead investigators. TOI had reported these developments extensively in its edition of October 15, 2008.

We planted bombs in seven pressure cookers: Sadiq
Mumbai: In the confession which has come to light now, Indian Mujahideen’s top operative Sadiq Sheikh, an electronics engineer, said he along with his accomplices engineered the train bombings (which killed 188) on the instructions of his mentors, Riyaz Bhatkal and Amir Raza, both of whom are wanted.

In his statement before the police, Sadiq said that they had manufactured the bombs at a flat in Sewri in central Mumbai which was taken on rent by Abu Rashid, a wanted accused. However, the ATS said the bombs were manufactured in a 100 sq ft room in Govandi

and that some Pakistanis were also present there.

“All five of us arrranged local first class train passes beforehand. We had the local train timetable with us, so that we could choose a train as per our convenience. We purchased bags and pressure cookers in Bombay,’’ Sadiq told the police, adding, “On July 11, 2006, all five of us assembled the bombs and filled the cookers with explosives. We kept the bombs ready. We had planned that the bombs go off at 6:30 pm, so we had activated the timer at 2 pm. We planned to move one by one with the bags containing the bombs.’’

The crime branch in its chargesheet against the IM
module had mentioned that Sadiq was allegedly involved in several blasts cases across the country since 2005, including in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Varanasi. Soon after, the ATS which had earlier rubbished the IM claims of carrying out the train attacks, sought custody of Sadiq. Sadiq has been in ATS custody since February 21.

“The SIMI boys were led by Lashkar-e-Taiba’s western India commander Faisal Shaikh, who had arranged Rs 20 lakh through hawala to execute the terror operation,’’ the ATS had said in its 12,000-page chargesheet filed in December 2006. Faisal, now behind bars, had lived most of his life on Temkar Street in Nagpada in Mumbai, where underworld don Dawood Ibrahim had residedalong with his family before fleeing the country. A N Roy, who was then Mumbai police commissioner, had announced at a press conference
held after the “detection’’ of the blasts case that the Simi members had also arranged for the Pakistani suspects’ accommodation in Mumbai and neighbouring areas.

Sadiq, in his statement, had also revealed the involvement of Atif Amin and Mohammed Saji who were killed in the Batla House encounter in Delhi last year. “Abu Rashid and Sajid then joined me in keeping their bags in the other trains. Rashid travelled till Dadar in the same train and then left for Sewri. After a while, through the general public, we were informed of the blasts in the local train,’’ he said.

According to the Mumbai crime branch, Sadiq had been to a “hostile country’’ on two occasions—once for nine months and again for 45 days—where he had acquired terrorrelated training. His family lives in the Cheetah Camp locality of Trombay and comprises his wife, three daughters, an elder brother and a few others.

But his family said it had been living in the same locality for 40 years and it was surprising that the cops were claiming that Sadiq had stayed there for only a few months prior to his arrest as a Pakistani.

About the Delhi blasts, Sadiq said, “Sarojini Nagar, Paharganj, Govindpuri were targets for the blasts. We used to stay in a hotel in Jasola. Other than that, Atif, Shadab, Aariz, Shakeel and Sakib were involved in the group. I used to accompany them for making bombs. I and Atif were now trained in making bombs. I left for my place before the Delhi blasts. I got the news of the blasts the next day.’’ TNN

The Times of India, Feb 28, 2009

26/11 terrorists took the sea route: Maria

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Rejecting Pakistani navy chief Admiral Noman Bashir’s claim that the 10 terrorists did not use the sea route to reach Mumbai, city crime branch said that the four Global Positioning Systems (GPS) devices recovered from the terrorists revealed that they did come by the sea.

“The GPS was switched on in the Pakistani waters and it showed lo
cations near Karachi,’’ said crime branch chief Rakesh Maria. “The GPS was switched on along at least 50 positions in Pakistan. The terrorists were trained to use GPS.’’ According to the Mumbai police, the terrorists had sailed in a Pakistani ship, Al-Husseini, before they took over a fishing trawler, M V Kuber to reach the city.

On February 13, Pakistan’s interiror minister, Rehman Malik, said the terrorists belonged to Pakistan and had sailed through Pakistani waters. But Bashir’s claim contradicts his minister’s statement.

Crime branch officers said they had seized a satellite phone, logbooks and 16 Pakistani items from Kuber. The logbook, made for a 24-hour journey, registered the names of nine out of 10 terrorists and their duties. Maria added the terrorists, who went to Nariman House, also used a GPS device. According to Maria, Major General Saab, who is among the 35 wanted accused named in the 11,202-page chargesheet on 26/11, was responsible for “motivational and operational’’ functions during the gun battle. “He instructed the terrorists how to take position and fire,’’ said the officer.

The Times of India, February 28, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

26/11 chargesheet to be filed today, Pak army not named

Mateen Hafeez & S Ahmed Ali | TNN

Mumbai: The 26/11 terror attack chargesheet will be filed on We d n e s d ay. However, there is no mention of the Pakistan army’s alleged role in it, said sources.

The document, which reportedly runs into 10,000 pages, records the role of two Indians—Faheem Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed—who allegedly helped the terrorists. Both are accused of conducting a recce and passing on the maps and footage of vital installations to Lashkar-EToiba (LeT) operatives in Pakistan.

Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive, is expected to be produced before the magistrate for the first time and will be handed a copy of the chargesheet in Urdu. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said, “The chargesheet would be filed on Wednesday afternoon.’’

The chargesheet will recount the incident from how and when the 10
terrorists arrived in Mumbai via the sea route, split into four teams—one each for CST, Oberoi hotel, Hotel Taj Mahal and Nariman House.

According to the chargesheet, besides having one AK-47 each, the 10 terrorists were carrying around 10,000 bullets. They had brought around 200 hand grenades, which were used during the siege. The Bomb Detection and the Disposal Squad (BDDS) has seized 16 hand grenades which were either unused or did not go off due to some tech
nical problem, said police sources.

The evidence includes CCTV footage from CST, evidence from MV Kuber and the dinghy the terrorists had used.

The motor engine in the dinghy was imported and distributed by Business of Engineering Trends, Lahore. The hand grenades manufactured by an Austrian firm. The IP address of a terror mail allegedly sent from an email ID has been traced to Pakistan.


Runs into nearly 10,000 pages
Names 20 persons responsible for the attack
Shows seven Pakistanis as wanted accused
Will be handed to Kasab in Urdu
Books Kasab and others under the IPC, UAPA, Explosive Act, Customs Act, Foreigner’s Act, but not under MCOCA
Says Nariman House was a target
as it had Jewish occupants
Includes Kasab’s confession recorded on February 20
Has statements of over 150 witnesses.
Has statements of Callphonex employees, MV Kuber’s owner Vinod Masani and the owner of a Skoda car

An elaborate police bandobast with SRPF and RAF platoons at Esplanade court in CST

The Times of India, February 25, 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

No proof to link IM founder to 7/11 blasts: ATS

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officials, who are questioning Indian Mujahideen’s founder member Sadiq Shaikh in connection with the 7/11 train bombing case, on Sunday said they had not been able to establish his link with the July 11, 2006, case so far.

“We are questioning him thoroughly since it’s a sensitive case. Our teams are probing all angles. However, so far, nothing in our investigation indicates that he played a role in the train blasts. But we can’t say anything about developments in the future,’’ said ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi.

On Saturday night, Sadiq was quizzed about his associates. The ATS further questioned him about the bombs manufactured for the 7/11 train bombing and how the RDX was procured. It is learnt that the ATS was not convinced with Sadiq’s answers.

Sadiq, who was first arrested by the city crime branch in September last year, is suspected to have played a key role in several blasts across the country since 2005, including the ones in Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, etc. Last October, the crime branch team had revealed that Sadiq and his associates had played a key role in the 7/11 train bombing case.

The ATS, which has already filed a chargesheet against 13 SIMI members, on Saturday took Sadiq into its custody to probe “if he had any role to play in the 7/11 train bombing case’’.

The ATS had earlier said that the bombs planted in the trains were manufactured at Govandi. However, sources in the crime branch contradict it, saying the bombs were manufactured at a flat in Sewri.

The Times of India, Feb 23, 2009

26/11 TERROR PROBE - Police don’t have voice samples of top LeT men

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The crime branch does not have the voice samples of top Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives who spoke to terrorists during the 26/11 attacks.

It may turn out to be a challenge for the crime branch, when the case comes up in court, to establish the voices of the terrorists’ handlers based in Pakistan.

A senior crime branch officer admitted that they do not have the voice samples of LeT top brass Abu Qahafa, Zarrar Shah, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Muzammil and Abu Hamza. One of the handlers was in touch with the terrorists till they reached Mumbai via a satellite phone.

The phone was recovered from the trawler M V Kuber. Four LeT operatives were in touch with the terrorists after the latter reached India and killed hundreds of people. The handlers were using the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) network during the gun battle.

According to the crime branch, the FBI may have voice samples of the handlers in call interceptions but the samples may not have been procured through official channels.

It was an ATS team that first got hold of an Indian mo
bile number the terrorists were using on the night of November 26. “This specific number was monitored and we came to know that the handlers in Pakistan were using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) network through a Voxfone,’’ said an ATS officer. Moreover, the ATS traced the VoIP origin to New Jersey but could not make any breakthrough. It was America’s FBI that zeroed in on the exact location of the VoIP and claimed it was being used in Pakistan.

Sources said that though the police have got the voice samples of Pak-based LeT bosses after they intercepted their conversation, the police do not possess the samples procured through an official
channel, which will be one of the requirements in court. As the city police don’t have voice samples, they are relying heavily on the financial transactions made during the terror attack in different parts of the world for the terror operation.

On the evening of November 27, the ATS found out about three more mobile numbers (which were traced to Nariman House and the Hotel Taj as well as Oberoi). The handlers were calling on these three numbers frequently. “The terrorists would give missed calls on four Austrian mobile numbers and their handlers would then revert back through VoIP. We also found out that the terrorists had snatched some victims’ phones and had used them to make calls,’’ the ATS official said.

The police said that US $220 was paid in Spain and $250 was paid in Italy to get the VoIP facility. A non-resident Pakistani, Javed Iqbal, who had made the payment in Barcelona was caught by the Pakistan police 15 days ago when he was in Pakistan.

The satellite phone recovered from the terrorists in Mumbai was used for the first time and no other calls were made in any other terror operation except for 26/11.

The Times of India, February 23, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hunt for suspects in colleges, offices

Mateen Hafeez I TN
Mumbai: Muzammil Shaikh is not the only white-collar person called in by the cops for “interrogation’’ and arrested as part of the probe into Terror Tuesday. Many of the others, who seem less likely to be arrested, also have white-collar jobs or aspire for one.
Take, for instance, final-year Aurangabad College mechanical engineering student Nadeem Ansari. The Madanpura resident of Kala Pani’s BIT Chawl No. 2 presented himself before Anti-Terrorism Squad officials on Thursday so that they could “record his

statement’’. The ATS warned Ansari’s parents on Wednesday that they would be detained if he did not come down to the city from his Aurangabad hostel within 24 hours. Ansari, who left Aurangabad late on Wednesday night after getting the call, reached Mumbai on Thursday morning and went to the ATS office with his parents and elder brother.
He was asked whether he had any link with the banned SIMI.
The police did not say so but the family felt all the “interrogation’’ had to do with the fact that they were neighbours of physician Jalees Ansari, accused of plotting a few dozen blasts across the country. M H Saboo Siddik Hospital registrar and unani physician Tanvir Ansari has already been arrested by the ATS.
ATS officials said they had a reason for every arrest, interrogation and detention. “Brainwashing is not confined to only madrasas now,’’ a senior official
said. “That is why we, too, are moving out of madrasas and into engineering colleges, hospitals and software offices to look for suspects,’’ he added.
And it’s not only the ATS
that is picking up white-collar youth for interrogation. Shivaji Nagar resident and software programmer Mohammad Akhtar got a call from a crime branch unit. He wants the culprits to be arrested and “punished severely’’ and knows that the police may be only doing its job.
But he does feel “slightly harassed’’, says the youth who earns Rs 6,000 a month and is trying to set up his own business. The only
brush with the law he has had so far is a case of assault when he was in college. Two other boys, both residents of Kala Pani, under the scanner for some years, were picked up on Wednesday for questioning. Both were graduates, officials said. Officials probing 7/11 say the suspected involvement of SIMI has forced them to look for suspects in the educated class. “Almost everyone in the SIMI think-tank was a graduate,’’ one of them explained.
“So it is natural a large number of SIMI people we are picking up for interrogation will
be educated youth established in life,’’ the official added.
(Names of persons picked up for interrogation have been changed.)

The Times of India, July 28

Thursday, February 19, 2009

M’gaon men mulled Panipat Urs attack

Members of Abhinav Bharat discussed attacking Panipat during Urs as the “maximum number of cows were slaughtered in that city

Kartikeya & Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Confessional statements and witnesses’ testimonies in the Malegaon blast case have revealed that rightwing group Abhinav Bharat’s meetings discussed the possibility of an attack on Urs celebrations in Panipat.

Statements given by two witnesses also said they saw a key accused, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, with a “golden-coloured motorbike’’ in September 2008. Officials said it was the same bike used to plant explosives in Malegaon on September 29.

Prime accused Sudhakar Dwivedi said a meeting was held at Deolali in August 2007 where Lt Col Prasad Purohit, Chaturvedi and Maj Ramesh Upadhyay were present. “It was discussed at the meeting that something should be done during Urs in Panipat because the maximum number of cows were slaughtered there,’’ Dwivedi said in his statement.

“Purohit promised to supply explosives and Chaturvedi took the responsibility of getting two bomb-planters,’’ Dwivedi said. The statement also referred to a “former member of Parliament’’ who was present at the meeting but his name was blanked out.

Dwivedi also told policemen that Purohit was supplying “firearms’’ for money and one of his “disciples’’ called “Ashok from Bhopal’’ procured a weapon from him. “Ashok deposited the money in Purohit’s
ICICI Bank account,’’ Dwivedi confessed. At another point, Dwivedi said Purohit was paid Rs 5 lakh for a “gun consignment’’ in 2008 by a man whose name, too, was blanked out.

According to the confession, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur had demanded that Purohit “supply explosives’’ so that the group could “do something’’ against the killing of Hindus.

Dwivedi said it was he who
convinced Purohit to procure bomb-making material as Purohit had not been taking the sadhvi “seriously’’. He also detailed plans that were made to gun down RSS leader Indresh Kumar as Purohit and others believed he was taking money from the ISI.

On Wednesday, the court was also given a statement given by an unnamed witness who said Dwivedi took money from a man in his village to help his son get admission into a college in Pune. “The money was transferred to Mumbai via hawala channels. He also encouraged me to take weapons and explosives training from Purohit,’’ the witness said.

The witness went to Bhopal in April 2008 when he saw the accused and heard Purohit say that Malegaon was a good place to plant a bomb as there were many Muslims there.

‘Arrange for RDX’
Blast suspect Rakesh Dhawade said in his confession, “In August 2008, (Lt Col) Purohit called me up and said Sadhvi Pragya, Ramji and Sandeep Dange wanted to get RDX... I told him I cannot get it. After a few days, Purohit called me up saying Pragya and some others had executed a blast in Malegaon.’’

* Lt Col Prasad Purohit supplied weapons to individuals; the money was deposited in his bank account
Witnesses said they saw a key accused, Sudhakar Chaturvedi, with a “golden-coloured motorbike’’ in September 2008. Officials said it was the same bike used to plant explosives in Malegaon on September 29

The Times of India, February 19, 2009

ATS may seek custody of IM suspect Sadiq

7/11 PROBE: The ATS and the crime branch have different opinions

S Ahmed Ali & Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: With the city crime branch claiming that the Indian Mujahideen (IM) module was also involved in terror activities since 2005, a blame game between the agency and the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has begun.

The ATS may file an application for the custody of Sadiq Shaikh, a suspected IM member caught by the crime branch.

There have been two terror strikes since 2005; the 11/7 train bombings and the 26/11 attacks. In 2006, the ATS had arrested 13 suspected SIMI members and claimed to have detected the train blasts that killed 188 people.

The ATS said the bombs were manufactured at a 100-sq-ft room in Govandi. The crime branch had in 2008 claimed to have busted an Indian Mujahideen group and said the bombs were manufactured at a flat in Sewri.

Sources said the two agencies were yet to agree on which group was actually behind the train bombings or was any other group involved.

“You should see the design of the bombs allegedly made by the IM module. It did not contain RDX. The bombs used
in the serial train blasts contained RDX and were concealed in a pressure cooker. If the same (IM) module is behind Surat, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and other blasts why did they change their bombs?’’ an ATS officer asked.

“This just cannot be an IM plot. Who knew IM in 2006?’’ the officer asked, adding that the crime branch never shared any information with the ATS.

The crime branch, however, said it had sent an official communication to the ATS in September-October 2008 after city police chief Hasan Gafoor announced that hacking cases had been cracked with the arrest of IM members.

Crime branch sources said Sadiq and his aide Arif Sha
ikh had confessed to their role and even described the circumstances to support their claims. He said almost all the bombs placed on Mumbai’s trains were manufactured at Abu Rashid’s rented flat in Sewri. Sadiq also revealed that Riyaz Bhatkal had transported explosives and chemicals to the flat.

Additional director-general of police Krish Pal Raghuvanshi said, “I am holding additional charge of the ATS now. I was not in the ATS when the 11/7 investigation was conducted. Let us go through the IM chargesheet; if we find anything linked to 11/7, we will probe that angle. We will file a supplimentary chargesheet if we establish anything.’’

The Times of India, Feb 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

IM charged with war on nation

Mansoor Peerbhoy (circled) and Mubin alias S K Shaikh (in black) outside the court on Tuesday

21 Operatives Of Indian Mujahideen Accused Of Terror

Kartikeya and Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The Mumbai police on Tuesday filed a 1,809-page chargesheet against 21 alleged members of the terror group Indian Mujahideen (IM) and charged them with “waging war against the nation’’. The group is believed to be behind a series of blasts in various Indian cities since 2005 and to have used unsecure WiFi locations in Mumbai to send threatening e-mail minutes before the explosions took place in Ahmedabad and Delhi in 2008.

Interestingly, a sanction order given by home secretary Chitkala Zutshi, which is appended to the chargesheet, says that the IM was also involved in “bomb blasts in Mumbai since 2005’’. However, it’s not clear from the rest of the chargesheet whether it had a hand in any such attack. Since 2005, Mumbai has been witness to the July 2006 suburban
train bombings and the 26/11 strike. The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has maintained that the IM had no role in the train bombings and investigations into the 26/11 attack are still on.

The chargesheet painstakingly
lists the manner in which Riyaz Bhatkal—a key conspirator who is currently absconding—recruited young men to join the IM and participate in the terror attacks. A part of the IM’s strategy was to spread terror through the use of its ‘media cell’ headed by software engineer
Mansoor Peerbhoy (31).

Peerbhoy not to turn approver
Less than four months ago, Mansoor Peerbhoy (in pic above, circled), a techie working with a Pune MNC, expressed his wish to turn approver in writing before an MCOCA court. On Tuesday, he stood up quietly and said in flawless English, “I don’t want to be an approver. I am withdrawing my application now.’’ No reasons were asked in court and none given. The support of his family, which has decried the media for “blowing things out of proportion’’, may have played a role in his decision.


The Mumbai crime branch on Tuesday filed a nearly 2,000-page chargesheet against 21 operatives of the Indian Mujahideen. These terrorists (5 more are still wanted), who also have links with LeT and Simi, were arrested in Sept-Oct last year. They are named as having engineered various attacks across the country since 2005; they had sent terror emails to media outfits before the blasts in various cities last year; they had also assembled 50 bombs

There are 159 witnesses, including a 70-year-old housewife Mastermind Sadiq Shaikh, a software techie from Trombay, carried out the firing at the American Center in Kolkata in 2002
Peerbhoy visited US in ’07 to buy equipment to detect unsecured WiFi systems
Besides the media wing, IM has three other factions: the Mahmoud Gazni, Shaheed Zaqari and Sabauddin brigades to target south & north India besides VVIPs.

Accused celebrated after blast
Mumbai: The Mumbai police chargesheet against IM operatives lists the manner in which Riyaz Bhatkal—a key conspirator who is currently absconding—recruited young men to join the IM and participate in the terror attacks. A part of the IM’s strategy was to spread terror through its ‘media cell’ headed by software engineer Mansoor Peerbhoy (31).

The chargesheet pertains to cases filed with the Chembur and Matunga police stations where IM operatives hacked into unsecure WiFi connections to send a 14-page threatening mail. Peerbhoy is named as the head of the ‘media cell’ and the author of the e-mail. The group is believed to be behind several blasts since 2005 in Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Lucknow.
Separate cases have been filed against them at all these places.
Some accused hosted a dinner in Pune to celebrate the success of Ahmedabad blast.

The 21 men have been charged with ‘waging war against the nation’ as well as under provisions of MCOCA and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. If convicted, they may even face capital punishment. The chargesheet says the prosecution may examine 159 witnesses to build up its case. Soon after copies of the chargesheet were submitted in the court, the accused said that they wanted to read it themselves. The police will file a separate chargesheet in the hacking case involving US national Ken Haywood’s WiFi network.

The Times of India, Feb 18, 2009


Chargesheet Says Arrested Men Behind All Terror Acts Since 2005, But ATS Denies Their Role In 2006 Serial Train Blasts

Mateen Hafeez and S Ahmed Ali | TNN

Mumbai: The chargesheet filed by the Mumbai crime branch on Tuesday mentions the role of the Indian Mujaheedin (IM) in various blasts since 2005, including the July 11, 2006, train blasts. But the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) which investigated the blasts (the only terror attack between 2005 and the 2008 strikes) strongly denies this.
Additional director-general of police K P Raghuvanshi said, “So far there is no information on a connection between SIMI and the IM. If there is any mention of the
11/7 blast in the chargesheet, we will definitely question the accused. We can file the supp l e m n t a r y chargesheet if the IM role is established in the train blasts.’’

But this contradicts the chargesheet, which says the accused were involved in all
blasts — Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Lukcnow, Delhi, Surat and Mumbai — since 2005. “The investigations into the 26\11 strikes are still on. The only blast since 2005 is the July 11, 2006 blasts that killed 188 and injured 817,’’ a policeman said. The chargesheet however doesn’t delve into detail on the IM’s role in the train blasts.

Last October, commissioner of police Hasan Gafoor stated at a media conference that IM members were involved in the train blasts. But director general of police A N Roy denied this and said it was Al-Qaeda’s ploy to misguide investigators. He said 13 persons had already been chargesheeted by the ATS for the blasts. There were more contradictions. The ATS claimed the bombs
used in the attacks were assembled in Govandi while the crime branch said they were made in a rented flat in Sewree.

Asked about the contradictions, joint police commissioner (crime) Rakesh Maria on Tuesday dodged the issue. “We have arrested the accused for hacking and sending threat emails. We have also mentioned that these accused were also involved in all the terror-related activities in 2005,’’ was all that he was willing to say.

Charges against absconders soon

S Ahmed Ali | TNN
Mumbai: Even as the Mumbai crime branch on Tuesday filed the chargesheet against 21 Indian Mujaheedin members responsible for various blasts since 2005, joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria informed it will soon file a supplementary chargesheet against those still absconding.

Riyaz Bhatkal, his brother Iqbal Bhatkal, Amir Raza, Irfan Shaikh, Mohsin Choudhary and Abu Rashid have been named absconders in the 1,809-page chargesheet. While the Bhatkal brothers played a key role in terror activities, Irfan and Mohsin are accused of aiding and helping Afzal Usmani ferry stolen cars from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. Rashid, a garment dealer and Sewree resident rented a flat in the area where the module assembled bombs including the one used in the Mumbai train blasts. Kolkata-resident Raza, now in Pakistan, is accused of monitoring all blasts on the instructions of the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

Though Maria refused to name others, sources said LeT chief and Jamatud-Dawa leader Saeed Hafeez is among them. Two Dubai-based Indians funded the IM module. Sources said Sadiq and his group received Rs 12 lakh through hawala channels.


Mohammed Zakir Shaikh, 26
A resident of Bhivandi, Thane, the scrap dealer planted bombs in Surat at the instance of Riyaz Bhatkal

Ansar Shaikh, 35
Underwent training in Pakistan, he worked as a desktop engineer at ICICI Bank, Prabhadevi. He provided logistical support

Asif Shaikh, 22
A Pune resident in the media wing of IM, he played a major role in hacking Wi-fi connections and preparing and sending terror emails

Mohammed Arif alias Arif Badar alias Laddan, 39
Azamgarh resident, the SIMI member who trained in Pakistan ran an electric shop. He made and supplied timers for bombs

Mohammed Atiq Musab, 25
Test engineer with Infosys Pune, his arrest led to the seizure of 32 timers

Mohd Akbar Choudhary, 26
Pune resident, he helped recruit men for IM and was a
part of the media wing. He carried explosives to Surat and Ahmedabad and prepared bombs

Anik Safiq Sayyed, 27
A native of Pune, he made bombs, besides training in administering sedatives to kidnap victims for ransom. He forged documents for purchasing SIM cards for IM operatives. He also ran a computer institute in Pune where IM members trained

Majid Shaikh alias Nazim, 26
Helped buy SIM cards

Yasir Sayyed alias Hujefa, 20
Helped buy SIM cards

Farooq Tarqas alias Abdulla, 26
Same as above

Mohammed Ali, 44
Resident of Mangalore, he harboured the Bhatkal brothers and other accused in their house in Ullal village

Javed Mohammed Ali, 20
Son of Mohammed Ali, his role was the same as that of his father

Ahmed Bawa, 33
A Bhatkal resident, he
trained IM members and ferried explosives from Bhatkal-Pune-Ahmedabad. He also assembled explosives in Surat

Mohd Naushad Sayyed, 25
The Bhatkal resident took delivery of explosives in Udipi and provided funds to the accused. He also digital timers to Pune and Surat, besides assembling IEDs

Dustgir alias Munjeeb, 25
A native of Bhatkal, he trained jihadis. His arrest led to seizure of jihadi material

Fazal Rehman alias Sallauddin, 23
The Parbhani resident hired premises for IM operatives in Bharuch and Surat, received cars used in Ahmedabad blasts, ferried explosives and planted them in cars at Surat

Dr Anwar Bagwan, 25
The Pune doctor hired flats there which were bases for IM. He procured sedatives and anaesthetics from hospitals and trained IM members to use them in kidnappings

The Times of India, Feb 18, 2009

‘Peerbhoy led media wing’

Kartikeya & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: In a chargesheet which details how Riyaz Bhatkal recruited youths to carry out terror attacks in the country, Mansoor Peerbhoy’s name appears prominently. Though his family continues to deny any involvement, the chargesheet says he was leader of the Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) ‘media cell’.

According to the chargesheet, Pune resident Peerbhoy was part of the terror module in 2007 itself. He visited Newark, USA in September that year and purchased electronic equipment such as a spy camera and a “radio frequency signal detector’’ later used with devastating effect to trace unsecure Wi-Fi connections in Mumbai and send threatening mails minutes before the blasts.

Peerbhoy also allegedly underwent specialised training from an “expert’’ in Hyderabad in 2007. Police said he facilitated “intragroup communication’’ and helped IM operatives avoid detection in the cyberworld through “encryption techniques’’. His team comprised two other tech-savvy operatives — Asif Shaikh and Mubin Shaikh. Disturbed by the ease with which police tracked the IM’s use of cyber cafes to send terror mails, Bhatkal directed Peerbhoy in May 2008 to send threats through unsecure Wi-Fi connections. Peerbhoy cruised the city in an Esteem and identified locations in Colaba, CST, Dadar, Matunga, Sion and Sanpada. He allegedly penned the e-mail sent to media houses minutes before the July 27 Ahmedabad blasts.

The chargesheet says since Peerbhoy was working with clients in USA he was allowed to work from his residence. Attendance records show he was on leave on July 25 and July 27, 2008 — dates around which blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad took place.

However, Peerbhoy’s younger brother Aalim, an engineer, came to court with his mother, a teacher, said: “The chargesheet has not been filed and trial is yet to begin. But the media has made up stories about my brother.”

The Times of India, Feb 18, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

CELEB CELL MATES keep a low profile

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Malegaon blast suspect sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur has two high-profile neighbours in special cells of the Byculla women’s jail. One of them is Fahmeeda Sayyed, a suspect in the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar blasts. The other is aspiring model and actor Maria Susairaj, accused of murdering Neeraj Grover.

All three—Thakur, Sayyed
and Susairaj—are residents of the prison’s “high-security’’ zone and each has found her own reading material in jail. Thakur is busy reading the Bhagvad Gita, chanting the Hanuman Chalisa and studying her legal papers. Sayyed keeps herself busy by offering namaz. However, Susairaj is into more worldly stuff, spending most of her time in reading court papers. “The three stay in adjacent cells but there has never been any argument or squabble, which is common in prisons, between the three,’’ a senior jail official said. Kept in special cells, they are among 362 prisoners in the jail.

Thakur, a prime suspect in the Malegaon 2008 blast case, was arrested in October. She is the founder of the Jai Vande Mataram Kalyan Samiti and the Hindu Rashtra Sena.

Andheri resident Sayyed was caught by the city crime branch in August 2003 for conspiring and executing the Gateway of India as well as Zaveri
Bazaar bomb blasts that killed 64. She and her husband, Haneef, allegedly formed the “Gujarat Muslims’ Revenge Force’’ as a form of retaliation against the riots there.

Susairaj’s alleged crime was more personal; the Kerala-born model and her boyfriend, Indian Navy second lieutenant Emile Jerome, are accused of killing Synergy Adlabs creative director Neeraj Grover last year and then chopping his body into pieces.

All the three women, belonging to three different
faiths, are in adjacent cells that measure 121 sq ft each. “Thakur, Sayyed and Susairaj clean their utensils and clothes on their own. They hardly talk to other prisoners,’’ a jail official said. “The three have been kept in separate cells in view of the sensitivity of their cases,’’ he added.

All the eight barracks have six fans and a television set each. But the three special cells do not have a
single fan or a TV set. They make do with one light each. Central government rules forbid high-security cells from having fans to prevent prisoners from attempting suicide.

“The three female undertrials are good-natured and hardly talk to each other. There is no chance of any untoward incident,’’ jail superintendent Sudhir Kingre said. Several NGOs run mehendi, craft, embroidery, meditation and computer classes in the jail but none of the three has enrolled for these classes.

The prison has 362 female inmates 15 of them are foreign nationals arrested in connection with drug cases 30 Indian inmates are accused of murder

Poha, upma, 100 ml of milk and a cup of tea is served to the inmates for breakfast at 7 am daily Lunch comprises dal, roti, rice and vegetables and is delivered at the inmates’ doorstep at 10 am Dinner, usually a vegetarian affair, is served at 3.30 pm sharp
The Times of India, February 15, 2009

Malegaon blast 2008- The saffron face of terror

(Pics L to R) Hemant Karkare, the former ATS chief who led the Malegaon blast investigation, the blast site, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur being taken to a court in Mumbai, residents in Malegaon protesting the blast, Shankaracharya Swami Dayanand Pandey and lieutenant colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit's pic, Swami Dayanand Pandey

Eleven suspects including Indian army's first serving lieutenant colonel, army's retired major, a Shankar Acharya and a Sadhvi have been nailed for the Malegaon blast. Currently in judical custody, all the suspects are facing the charges under various sections of the stringent law, Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. It was invoked on the case on November 20, 2008

Case history:
What: A bomb blast
Where: Bhikku Chowk, Malegaon
When: 9.35 pm on September 29, 2008
Ocassion: Two days prior to Eid in Ramzan
Killed: Six including an 11-year-old girl
Injured: 101 persons
Investigating agency: The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS)
Bomb contained: RDX, ammonium nitrate, oil fuel, shrapnel, nut and bolts
Total arrested: 11
Who are they? Members of Hindu hardliners' outfits, Abhinav Bharat, Jai Vande Matram Jan Kalyan Samiti, Hindu Rashtra Sena etc

Accused: 11

Wanted: 3 (Ramji Kalangsara, Sandeep Dange, Pravin Mutalik)

Injured: 101

Confessional statements: 2

Pages in the chargesheet: 4,528
(filed on January 20, 2009)

* The bike used in the blast, is said to have been once owned by Sadhvi Pragya
* Recorded conversation between Lt Col Prasad Purohit and retired Major Ramesh Upadhyaya. They talk of escape plan, in case they were caught
Traces of RDX found in Sudhakar Chaturvedi's house
* SMS messages sent from Purohit’s phone to Upadhyaya
* Two important confession statements made in the presence of a magistrate
* 431 witnesses, of which five are army officers
12 written witness statements
* A laptop seized from Dayanand Pandey containing key video files and other valuable evidence

The accused have been booked under the Indian Penal Code for crimes such as murder under Section 302, attempt to murder under Section 307 and conspiracy under Section 120-B

They have been slapped with provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for trying to “overawe the government’’ and “threatening the unity and integrity of the nation’’, under the Explosives Act for use of RDX to engineer the blast, and the MCOCA for being members of an organised crime syndicate

The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) is a stringent piece of legislation that allows the police to hold the accused in custody for a long period of time. Unlike ordinary laws, it allows confessions given to senior police officials to be used as evidence.

The state will be represented by special prosecutor Rohini Salian

The 11 accused have a battery of lawyers including Mahesh Jethmalani and Shrikant Shivade. Other lawyers for the accused include Avinash Bhide, Ganesh Sowani and Naveen Chomal

Behind Bars:
* Pragya Singh Thakur (38): A former member of Durga Vahini, BJP's women's wing. A masters degree holder in History, Thakur took Sanyas and became a Sadhvi in January 2007. Thakur's bike was used to plant bomb in Malegaon. She is accused of engineering the blast.
She was arrested on October 23.

* Shamlal Sahu (42): He is suspected to be one of the bomb planter. A commerce graduate from Christian College in Indore, Sahu has a mobile phone shop and also acted as a realty broker. According to Madhya Pradesh PWD minister, Kailash Vijayvargia, Sahu is a BJP member. Sahu is also accused of conspiring the bomb blast.
He was arrested on October 23.

* Shivnarayan Kalangasara Singh (36): A B Sc graduate from New Sciene college in Indore, Singh works as an electrician and is also an LIC agent. He has been termed as ``mechanical and electrical'' expert by the ATS. He is suspected to have assembled the timer device while making the bomb.
He was arrested on October 23.

* Sameer Kulkarni (32): A former member of Akhil Bharatya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) who moved from Maharashtra to Bhopal a few years ago. He was emploeyed in a printing press and would distribute pamphletes and literature ``to educate Hindu youths'' about religion. He is supected to have brough the chemicals used in the bomb.
He was arrested on October 28.

* Retired major Ramesh Upadhyay (64): A resident of Akurdi in Pune, he worked in Military's intelliegence unit. Upadhyay is suspected to have provided training to the planters for assembling bombs and procuring the bomb material. He also headed BJP's ex servicemen's cell in Mumbai but was removed by the higher authorities.
He was arrested on October 28.

* Ajay Rahirkar (39): He was the treasurer of Abhinav Bharat and part of the fund raisers' group. He is a Pune resident and had paid Rs 2.5 lakh to Swami Dayanand Pandey prior to the blast.
He was arrested on November 2.

* Rakesh Dhawde (35): Dhawde has been booked in four bomb blasts cases too. They were Qadriya mosque blast in Jalna, Mohammediya mosque blast in Parbhani, another mosque blast at Porna and a bomb blast at a Bajrang Dal member, Laxman Rajkondwar's house on April 6, 2006. A Pune resident, Dhawde also arranged terror training for the Bajrang Dal members and collected weapons for training. He was a weapon consultant for Aamir Khan starrer movie, Mangal Pandey- The Rising.
He was arrested on November 2.

* Jagdish Mhatre (40): A habitual criminal and accused in murder and extortion cases in Kalyan and Thane, Mhatre resided at Dombivili at the time of his arrest. He had paid money to Dhawde to buy weapons.
He was arrested on November 2.

* Lt. Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit (37): He is accused of procuring the RDX used in the blast. Arranged and attended meetings, collectd funds and is a prime conspirator. He was posted at the Army Education Corpse Training Centre and College in Panchmadi, Madhya Pradesh where he was doing a course in Arabic at the time of his arrest.
He was arrested on November 5.

* Swami Dayanand Pandey alias Shankar Acharya alias Sukhakar Dwuvedi (40): He had asked Purohit to arrange for explosves for the Malegaon blast. He conducted meetings with the other accused. He ran two ashrams, one Kanpur and another in Jammu and Kashmir, prior to his arrest.
He was arrested on November 14.

* Sudhakar Chaturvedi (37): Originally a resident of Mirzapur in UP, Chaturvedi was picked up from Deolali where he stayed in a rented room. He is accused of conspiracy.
He was arrested on November.

Case was first registered at the Azad Nagar police station in Malegaon on September 29, 2008. Later, it was transferred to the ATS police station (CR No. 18/08) in Mumbai.

The accused are facing the following charges in this case.

* Sections of the Indian Penal Code
302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 327 (voluntarily causing hurt to extort property, or to constrain to an illegal to an act) and 153 (d).

* Sections 15, 18 and 23 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA)
section 15 (Terrorist Act) : Whoever, with intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country, does any act by using bombs, dynamite or other explosive substances or inflammable substances or firearms or other lethal weapons or poisons or noxious gases or other chemicals or by any other substances (whether biological or otherwise) of a hazardous nature, in such a manner as to cause, or likely to cause, death of, or injuries to any person or persons or loss of, or damage to, or destruction of, property or disruption of any supplies or services essential to the life of the community in India or in any foreign country or causes damage or destruction of any property or equipment used or intended to be used for the defence of India or in connection with any other purposes of the Government of India, any State Government or any of their agencies, or detains any person and threatens to kill or injure such person in order to compel the Government in India or the Government of a foreign country or any other person to do or abstain from doing any act, commits a terrorist act.
section 18 (Punishment for being member of a terrorist gang or organisation) : Whoever conspires or attempts to commit, or advocates, abets, advises or incites or knowingly facilitates the commission of, a terrorist act or any act preparatory to the commission of a terrorist act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
23. (Enhanced Penalties): (1) If any person with intent to aid any terrorist contravenes any provision of, or any rule made under the Explosives Act, 1884 or the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 or the Inflammable Substances Act, 1952 or the Arms Act, 1959, or is in unauthorised possession of any bomb, dynamite or hazardous explosive substance or other lethal weapon or substance capable of mass destruction or biological or chemical substance of warfare, he shall, notwithstanding anything contained in any of the aforesaid Acts or the rules made thereunder, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
(2) Any person who, with intent to aid any terrorist, attempts to contravene or abets, or does any act preparatory to contravention of any provision of any law or rule specified in sub-section (1), shall be deemed to have contravened that provision under sub-section (1) and the provisions of that sub-section in relation to such person, have effect subject to the modification that the reference to "imprisonment for life" therein shall be construed as a reference to "imprisonment for ten years''.

* Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Explosive Substance Act
3. Any person who unlawfully and maliciously causes by any explosive substance an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life or to cause serious injury to property shall, whether any injury to person or property has been actually caused or not, be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to caning, or to any two of such punishments.

Penalty for attempt to cause explosion, or for making or keeping explosives with intent to endanger life or property.
Any person who unlawfully and maliciously —
(a) does any act with intent to cause by an explosive substance, or conspires to cause by an explosive substance, an explosion of a nature likely to endanger life or to cause serious injury to property; or
(b) makes or has in his possession or under his control any explosive substance with intent by means thereof to endanger life or cause serious injury to property, or to enable any other person by means thereof to endanger life or cause serious injury to property, shall, whether any explosion does or does not take place and whether any injury to person or property has been actually caused or not, be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to caning, or to any two of such punishments.

Penalty for making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances.
Any person who makes or knowingly has in his possession or under his control any explosive substance, under such circumstances as to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that he is not making it or does not have it in his possession or under his control for a lawful object, shall, unless he can show that he made it or had it in his possession or under his control for a lawful object, be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years or to caning, or to any two of such punishments.

* Sections 3, 7and 25 of the Arms Act
Licence for acquisition and possession of firearms and ammunition
(1) No person shall acquire, have in his possession, or carry any firearm or ammunition unless he holds in this behalf a licence issued in accordance with the provisions of this Act and the rules made thereunder:
Provided that a person may, without himself holding a licence, carry any firearm or ammunition in the presence, or under the written authority, of the holder of the licence for repair or for renewal of the licence or for use by such holder.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), no person, other than a person referred to in sub-section (3), shall acquire, have in his possession or carry, at any time, more than three firearms :
Provided that a person who has in his possession more firearms than three at the commencement of hte Arms (Amendment) Act, 1983, may retain with him any three of such firearms and shall deposit , within ninety days from such commencement, the remaining firearms with the officer in charge of the nearest police station or, subject to the conditions prescribed for the purposes of sub-section (1) of Section 21, with a licensed dealer, or, where such person is a member of the armed forces of the Union, in a unit armoury referred to in that sub-section.
(3) Nothing contained in sub-sections (2) to (6) (both inclusive) of Section 21 shall apply in relation to any deposit of firearms under the proviso to sub-section (2) as they apply in relation to the deposit of any arms or ammunition under sub0section (1) of that section.]

7. Prohibition of acquisition or possession, or of manufacture or sale of prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition No person shall---
(a) acquire, have in his possession or carry; or
(b) manufacture, sell, transfer, convert, repair, test or prove; or
(c) expose or offer for sale or transfer or have in his possession for sale, transfer, conversion, repair, test or proof;
any prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition unless he has been specially authorised by the Central Government in this behalf.

25. Punishment for certain offences
manufactures, sells, transfers, converts, repairs, tests or proves, or exposes or offers for sale or transfer, or has in his possession for sale, transfer, conversion, repair, test or proof, any arms or ammunition in contravention of section 5; or
(b) shortens the barrel of a firearm or converts an imitation firearm into a firearm in contravention of section 6; or
(d) brings into, or takes out of, indya ,any arms or ammunition f any class or discription in contravention of section 11,
shall be punishable with imprisonment for a tram with shall not be less than three years but with may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.
(1-A) Whoever acquires, has in his possession or carries any prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition in contravention of section seven shall be punishable with imprisonment for awith term witch shall not be less than five years but which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.
(1-AA) whoever manufactures, sells, transfers, converts, repairs, tests or proves, or exposes or offers for sale or transfer or has in his possession for sale, transfer, conversion, repair, test or proof, any prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition in contravention of section 7 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than fine years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.
(1-AAA) whoever has in contravention of a notification issued under section 24-A in his possesssio n or in contravention of a notification issued under section 24-B carries or otherwise has in his possession, any arms or ammunition shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than (three years,but which may extand to seven years) and shall also be liable to fine.

* Sections 3 (1) (i) and 3 (2) (3) (4) of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA)
section 3 (1) (i)- Punishment for organised crime
(Whoever commits an offence of organised crime shall, (i) if such offence has resulted in the death of any person, be punishable with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to a fine, subject to a minimum fine of rupees one lakh)
section 3 (2) Whoever conspires or attempts to commit or advocates, abets or knowingly facilitates the commission of an organised crime or any act preparatory to organised crime, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to a .fine, subject to a minimum of rupees five lakh.
(3) Whoever harbours or conceals or attempts to harbour or conceal, any member of an organised crime syndicate; shall be punishable, With imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to a, fine, subject to a minimum fine of rupees five lakh.
(4) Any person who is a member of an organised crime syndicate shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less, than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to a fine, subject to a minimum fine of rupees five lakh.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No proof of Mutalik role in Malegaon blast so far: ATS

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The ATS on Wednesday said it had not found any involvement of Sri Ram Sene (SRS) chief Pramod Mutalik in the Malegaon blast case so far. The agency had questioned Mutalik in Karnataka on January 30.

Mutalik was first arrested on January 28 for inciting a group of youths who attacked women sitting in a pub at Mangalore. A news channel then aired a speech delivered by Mutalik where he spoke about the 2008 Malegaon bomb
blast. Mutalik was shown saying “Malegaon is just a glimpse of what we can do.’’

“We have scrutinised his statement and not found anything to link it with the Malegaon blast case so far. However, if Mutalik’s links emerge in the future, action will be taken against him,’’ said ATS additional commissioner Param Bir Singh.

The ATS is looking for one Pravin Mutalik in the Malegaon case. Pravin is suspected to have planted the bomb in Malegaon on September 29.

The Times of India, February 12, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chargesheet filed in Malegaon blast case- Press conference......

Officers of the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad, responsible for the detection of Malegaon September 29, 2008 bomb blast that killed six, during a press briefing. Elevan persons belonging to a Hindu hardliner's group were arrested. The 4,528-page chargesheet was filed in the special MCOCA court on January 20, 2009.

(Sitting L to R) DCP Dilip Shrirao (in uniform), additional commissioner Sukhvindar Singh, ADG Krish Pal Raghuvanshi, additional commissioner Param Bir Singh, DCP Ravi Patil and ACP Mohan Kulkarni
(Standing L to R) Inspector B B Rathor, assistant inspector Arun Khanvilkar, Inspector Dinesh Agrawal and assistant inspector Nasir Kulkarni

Thursday, February 5, 2009

‘Saji asked for stationery to pen thoughts’

(Deputy director of Enforcement Directorate Saji Mohan was arrested in a drug case)

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: IPS officer Saji Mohan, who is in police custody for allegedly dealing in drugs, resembles the lead character in Robin S Sharma’s book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, except that the protagonist in the book is a workaholic who lost the good years of his life in the rat race for material success.

The police deemed it appropriate to present this book to Saji when he request
ed for some reading material. The book is food for thought for those who are hungry for oriental wisdom.

Saji requested the police to provide him with books and papers to pen down his thoughts. “He puts up a brave face. We don’t know if it’s for real, though,’’ an officer said.

Meanwhile, the ATS, which is investigating the case, is yet to tie up the loose ends. “We are ascertaining how the drugs were supplied to him. We were told by the Narcotics
Control Bureau (NCB) that Saji was suspected to have kept a part of seized drugs while he was posted as zonal director NCB Chandigarh. However, he mixed limestone with the seized material to balance out the total amount. However, we have not bought this theory completely,’’ a senior police officer said.

Additional commissioner of police Param Bir Singh said, “We are probing his links with the drug mafia in the city and if Saji was part of a drug syndicate.’’ It is learnt that Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials at Kochi sealed his cabin and have drawn up a panchnama of the seized material. Saji had taken charge as deputy director of ED on January 9.

NCB superintendent Balwinder Singh, who is being questioned by the ATS, is likely to be arrested in Chandigarh under the NDPS Act. NCB is also investigating theft of drugs from its office. The economic offences wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh police will seek the custody of Saji on February 7. EOW is investigating misappropriation of NCB’s funds by Saji.

Saji was arrested for possessing 12 kg of heroin on January 24. His associates—Haryana constable Rajesh Kumar and Mumbai-based agent Vicky Oberoi—were in police custody when Saji was caught.

The Times of India, February 5, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Saji got Rs 30L for releasing drug accused

(IPS officer Saji Mohan being taken to the court)

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Arrested IPS officer Saji Mohan is learnt to have told the police that he has earned Rs 30 lakh by releasing people caught in connection with narcotics cases in Jammu and Chandigarh.

Mohan, arrested late last month, faces several charges under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The police have so far recovered 38.8 kg of heroin allegedly procured by him to sell in the market.

Mohan is suspected to have stolen 50 kg of heroin from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Chandigarh during his tenure as zonal director.

A senior ATS official said Mohan revealed that he earned Rs 30 lakh by releasing people caught with drugs in Chandigarh and other places in north India. “We will send the report to the Chandigarh NCB. Several people from Mohan’s department have come and questioned him as well,’’ the official added.

The ATS has obtained Mohan’s laptop and is busy retrieving details of his three mobile cards. “We have recorded his conversation about pushing drugs and selling it in the market while he was talking to another accused, Vicky Oberoi,’’ said the officer.

Oberoi told the police that he knew several Bollywood personalities. However, their link, if any, had not yet been
established in the case.

There were rumours about Mohan telling the police that he gave money to get a posting in the Enforcement Directorate (ED). However, ATS additional commissioner Param Bir Singh said, “He has not told us any such thing. We are focusing on only the drug case.’’

A senior ED official said, “It is unlikely considering that the Kochi deputy director’s post is not a sought-after one.’’

Sources indicated that the Chandigarh NCB superintendent, Balwinder Singh, who was being questioned by the ATS, could be questioned by the Chandigarh police in connection with a Rs 13-lakh embezzlement case. The money was to be deposited in a government account, but Mohan put it in his personal account.

Rajesh Kumar, a Haryana constable and another accused, was reinstated after Mohan intervened in his case. Kumar was suspended following a corruption case. The ATS has got a list of 19 people and is verifying their roles.

The Times of India, February 3, 2009

ATS likely to book ex-BJP MP for conspiracy

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The state anti-terrorism squad (ATS), probing the Malegaon September 2008 bomb blast, is likely to register a case against former BJP member of parliament, B L Sharma (Prem) and others for conspiring to engineer bomb blasts across the country.

Sharma, who had been MP twice from east Delhi on a BJP
ticket, participated in a meeting held on September 21, 2007 at Nashik in which some of the Malegaon blast accused also took part. Those present in the meeting included one Bhai Dalvi, Ninad Bedekar and Malegaon blast suspects Dayanand Pandey and Lt Col Prasad Purohit. The meeting was videographed by Pandey using his laptop. The ATS is planning to register the case in a Nashik police station.

The Malegaon blast suspects had conspired to convert secular India into a complete Hindu Rashtra. In the meeting, Sharma claimed to be a VHP minister. While talking about an action group, Sharma said,”Young men want three things. Women, money..... We can give that. If we ask the young men to do work and do not give them anything, they will not be with us for a long time.’’

The meeting’s CD and transcripts are now part of evidence in the Malegaon bomb blast case with the MCOCA court. In the meeting, Dalvi said that he had turned 70 and still wanted to fight. “There should be multiple blasts across the country at the same time,’’ Dalvi said in the conspiracy meeting. “It’s okay because if pressure mounts, then conversions will start,’’ said Pandey referring to the conversion of Muslims into Hinduism. “Once the process starts, it will not take time for the entire country to convert,’’ added Pandey.

“We are considering this and are planning to register a case in Nashik. There is insufficient evidence against some of those accused in the blast case,’’ said an ATS official on the condition of anonymity. “We are legally examining this case and other issues,’’ added ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi.

The Times of India, February 3, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 2009

‘Saji promised to resign from force if let off’

IPS Officer Still Under Scanner; Relief For Pune Resident

C Unnikrishnan & Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: IPS officer Saji Mohan, taken by surprise to see a police team waiting at Classique Club on the night of January 24, promised to resign from the force if allowed to go. Saji asked the officers to take into consideration the bad name his arrest would bring to the IPS fraternity and the trauma his family would have to face, a source said.

Saji, who is in custody of the ATS for drug trafficking, was asked by his accomplice, Vicky Oberoi, to come to a location to collect his share of money for a deal. Saji came to Mumbai from New Delhi after attending a weeklong training associated with his new posting of deputy director, enforcement directorate, Kochi.

A senior police officer said Oberoi was to find a buyer for the 40 kg pure heroin Saji had brought by train last year. Saji demanded that he be paid Rs 5.5 lakh per kg and Oberoi could keep the extra amount. It is believed that Saji, during his tenure at Narcotics Control Bureau, Chandigarh, sold 20 kg heroin and made Rs 20 lakh.
“Saji hoped to make over Rs 2 crore from the Mumbai deal,’’ an ATS official said.

Though Oberoi and a Haryana constable were arrested on January 17, Saji who was undergoing a training programme at CBI, Gaziabad, did not know about it. “Saji, following his new posting in Kerala, had taken a new mobile number. When
Oberoi disclosed Saji’s role, we asked Oberoi to speak to Saji. We recorded the conversation where Saji spoke about the deal. There are several text messages as well,” the officer said.

Saji had p u s h e d Oberoi into the drug trade
last year. “Saji met drug dealers including the J&K-based Naseeb Chand at his official residence in Chandigarh. Saji had also released two drug peddlers in Chandigarh after he was paid Rs 7 lakh,’’ the officer added.

The Times of India, February 1, 2009